Objective: To generate consensus-based guidelines for outpatient dietetic treatment of patients with an eating disorder (ED) using Delphi methodology. Method: A modified Delphi method was used to develop consensus-based guidelines in several categories: referral to a dietitian; essential components of outpatient dietetic treatment; strategies to promote collaboration between dietitians and other healthcare professionals; and skills dietitians should possess if treating patients with an ED. Participants (n = 162) were coded into three panels: ED specialists (n = 79), non-ED specialists (n = 28), and consumers and carers with lived experience of an ED (n = 55). A total of 122 statements were rated across three rounds. Results: Eighty-one statements reached consensus level (66.4%). A high proportion of endorsed statements were consistent with current guidelines for ED treatment, though some statements for which evidence exists were not endorsed as essential components of dietetic treatment. Compared to consumers and carers, ED specialists were less likely to endorse assessment or involvement by a dietitian as a standard component of treatment, and a number of discrepancies between ED specialists and consumers and carers were observed regarding essential components of dietetic treatment. Discussion: This study provides consensus-based guidelines in the current absence of clinical practice guidelines for dietetic treatment of EDs. It also highlights the importance of further research into: (a) the effectiveness of different components of dietetic intervention in this population and (b) how dietetic assessment and intervention is best incorporated into outpatient treatment.
- Delphi technique
- feeding and eating disorders